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LUCY LONG AGO by Catherine Thimmesh


Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From

by Catherine Thimmesh

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-547-05199-4

The 1974 discovery of the fossilized partial skeleton of a small-brained primate who apparently walked upright 3.2 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia significantly changed accepted theories about human origins. Step by step, Thimmesh presents the questions the newly discovered bones raised and how they were answered. Using interviews and quotations from the specialists involved, she explains the work of biological and paleoanthropologists, geochronologists, and paleo-artists and shows how the hominid find now known as Lucy (or Dinkenesh, “beautiful one”) helped turn the human family tree into something more like a bush. Sidebars clarify important concepts: hominids, evolution, fossilization, the scientific method (and its use of the word “theory”) and the process of making plaster casts. Illustrations include photographs from the discovery, a map and helpful diagrams and pictures of comparative skeletal parts and of a life-sized model. Extensive research, clear organization and writing, appropriate pacing for new ideas and intriguing graphics all contribute to this exceptionally accessible introduction to the mystery of human origins, timed to accompany Lucy’s six-year tour of U.S. museums. (glossary, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)